Family's struggle a reminder of call to hope

Kathleen Giffin

WORD MADE FLESH

Ascension – May 8, 2016
Acts 1.1-11 | Psalm 47 | Hebrews 9.24-28; 10.19-23 | Luke 24.46-53
May 2, 2016

These last days I have spent a lot of my time thinking about and praying for a young family in our parish who are in great difficulty and uncertainty.

Two weeks ago the father of two young children was in an accident which has resulted in a coma that is expected to continue for some time. While many signs point to a good recovery, there is also uncertainty and suffering, especially for his wife as she stays with him, day after day, praying for his healing.

This family has been a sign of hope for me for a few years now. They started coming to our church and soon this young wife went through the RCIA and entered fully into the community.

They serve in various ways - they take their turn greeting before Mass, they help in the wider community. They are a sign of hope for me because I see something of the future of the Church in them.

They were continually in the temple blessing God. - Luke 24.53

'They were continually in the temple blessing God.'

Luke 24.53

They are intentional in their faith; they have chosen to respond to a call of God and chosen to live that out amongst us, as a Catholic family.

Paul writes to the Ephesians: "I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom . . . so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you."

What is the hope to which we are called? I've lived long enough to know it can't be hope that if we do it all right, then things will turn out the way we want.

Nor is it hope that we'll get a bye on the suffering in life. Still less can it be hope that we will find happiness in success, pleasure and possessions.

No, it is much more the kind of hope with which this young wife and mother has been blessed. It is a hope that would cause her to see God's hand upon them, to be moved to gratitude for the new faith she has found that sustains her in this time of difficulty.

It is a hope that knows that God will be with her through whatever lies ahead, that he will be at work in every moment to bring meaning and healing and redemption. It is, as Paul says, hope in the "immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power."

We join them in that hope; we remember them in prayer; we are ready to help in practical ways when they return home. We are blessed by that hope that is a sign to us of God's grace and his love in action, carrying and sustaining all those who trust in him in their time of need.

As we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord we gather as God's people, as his family blessed by the gift of his Holy Spirit, continuing to hope, to pray.

(Kathleen Giffin kgif@telus.net)